Two planned Biden administration Obamacare rule changes regarding gender transition procedures are expected to lead to major legal battles over transgender rights and religious freedom.
The administrative proposals, which could be finalized within months, come about a year after President Joe Biden took office promising to reverse Trump administration rules concerning sex and gender and to implement new anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.
The first is a notification issued by the Biden administration that it will update Obamacare civil rights provisions to clarify that prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sex apply to sexual orientation and gender identity. Another would require that certain healthcare plans include coverage of gender transition procedures in certain circumstances.
The new measures put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services would be in the spirit of Biden’s day one executive order for combating discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. But religious liberty advocates say the policies are likely to infringe on conscience rights and predict that they will lead to major court battles.
“There’s gonna be massive conflict, like a crisis of conscience and religion for these organizations that don’t want to be complicit and participate in this,” said Rachel Morrison, a policy analyst at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank.
Morrison said the proposals are likely to lead to intense litigation and become “Hobby Lobby 2.0” — a reference to the landmark 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that private companies could not be forced by an HHS regulation to pay for contraception for employees.
Gay and transgender rights advocacy groups, meanwhile, have celebrated the Biden administration’s efforts to expand anti-discrimination protections to cover transgender people.
“The medical understanding of the field of medical care for transgender people has been developing for […]
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